a feminist technology blog

Month: July 2010

I Tweet Honestly, I Tweet Passionately: Twitter Users, Context Collapse, and the Imagined Audience

The first paper that danah boyd and I wrote together based on our research at MSR last summer has been published!

Social media technologies collapse multiple audiences into single contexts, making it difficult for people to use the same techniques online that they do to handle multiplicity in face-to-face conversation. This article investigates how content producers navigate ‘imagined audiences’ on Twitter. We talked with participants who have different types of followings to understand their techniques, including targeting different audiences, concealing subjects, and maintaining authenticity. Some techniques of audience management resemble the practices of ‘micro-celebrity’ and personal branding, both strategic self-commodification. Our model of the networked audience assumes a many-to-many communication through which individuals conceptualize an imagined audience evoked through their tweets.

If you have access to a university journal subscription, you can access it here. If not, you can download it here [PDF].

I am very proud of this paper and would love to hear feedback on it.

The Kindle

A short piece I wrote for the Chronicle of Higher Education on the Kindle.

When you pay for a Kindle book, you’re purchasing a license to read content on a single Kindle for as long as Amazon or the publisher allows. Some authors make their books available through free licenses on Creative Commons, but they are a small minority. Sure, you can find books to download in the public domain, but thanks to the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, those are restricted to books published by authors who died more than 70 years ago. Anything more recent, you pay for. You can’t transfer a purchase, copy it, print it out, or do anything else without violating at least the Kindle terms of service and at worst the copyright act. Naturally, there is a thriving trade in pirated e-books, as well as in software that converts files so that they can be read on the Kindle. That is all highly illegal.

Right after this was published, I left my Kindle in the seat pocket of an airplane and it was promptly stolen. Thanks, Delta.

I’ve gotten some push-back from my assertions that you can’t annotate documents on the Kindle. You can. Here’s how. I personally would not do this, because it’s not the way I read or annotate articles. I do them with pen and highlighter. But I do recognize that this works for other people, which is great for them. I still maintain that the Kindle is not designed to be a note-taking device, but an e-reader, and I think there are significant issues with how it handles the ownership of books.

Still, the editors deleted much of my positive commentary on the Kindle, which I absolutely loved. I miss mine and look forward to buying a new one once I have a real job.

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